Kingsborough Community College Honors Former Governor Mario Cuomo and Former First Lady Matilda Raffa Cuomo
Presentation of the 2012 President’s Medal to Mario and Matilda Cuomo by Dr. Regina Peruggi, president, Kingsborough Community College.
Good morning and welcome. I’m now pleased to invite the Honorable Mario Cuomo, former governor of the State of New York, to join me at the lectern.
Mario Cuomo, a recitation of your many accomplishments as lawyer, advocate, author, orator, and public servant could easily fill the better part of this morning’s program. Even if we limited ourselves to an examination of your achievements as a three-term governor of New York State (including leading the state through two national recessions, balancing twelve consecutive budgets, creating more than a half million jobs, launching the largest economic development initiative in New York’s history, and introducing innovative socially progressive legislation), we would exhaust ourselves. Governor Cuomo, you have loved this State and dedicated your career to the success of all of its people. In fact, at a recent dinner where you were honored, even President Clinton remarked that he had never seen anyone as dedicated to New York as you.
However, we honor you today not so much for the specific accomplishments of your career but rather for your articulation of and dedication to a philosophy of America that is an inspiration to us all. That philosophy of America includes a commitment to public education of which you once said, “We are the richest, the freest, the most powerful nation in world history. Is there any reason why we should not also be the best educated and the most highly skilled people in this fiercely competitive world?” We celebrate that commitment to public education today in the hundreds of Kingsborough graduates who sit before you.